New date for “Summer on the Farmington” Film: Thursday, Feb 24

I’m hoping you’ll join me for the new world premier (ok, so no searchlights, tuxes, gowns, or red carpet, but still it’s technically accurate) of Director Matthew Vinick’s film, “Summer on the Farmington.” Same place (Brewery Legitimus in New Hartford), same time (7pm), new date (Thursday, February 24)! You can only get tickets in advance online through the FRAA. Hopefully this current spike will be over and we can look forward to enjoying a tasty craft brew.

“Summer on the Farmington” film premier postponed; CFFA Show cancelled

Damn you, Omicron! Sadly, this recent COVID spike has forced the postponement of Director Matthew Vinick’s world premier of “Summer on the Farmington.” Originally slated for Wednesday January 12, no make-up date has been posted — but I’ll let you know when it comes down. Certainly it was a difficult decision, but it’s surely the right one. And we still have something cool and wonderful to look forward to! (Not to mention craft beer.)

Also noteworthy is the CFFA’s decision to cancel their Expo Saturday, February 5. That’s two years in a row with no “best little fly fishing show in New England.” But we also appreciate the CFFA’s concern for us, and we will look forward to its triumphant return in 2023.

It’d advise going fishing, but really, it looks brutal over the next few days. Me, I’m going to be working on presentations and tying and dreaming about warmer weather, hungry fish, and tight lines.

Here’s to being able to feel your fingers…and an end to this damn pandemic!

The Currentseams Best of 2021: #7-#5

(to be read in Casey Kasem’s voice) We’re counting down the 10 most memorable moments of 2021 on currentseams-dot-com. (to be read in singing chorus voices) Number Seven!

#7 Teaching Wet Fly Fishing. I didn’t have as many guide trips this year as usual, mostly because of high water — and then I cancelled most of the summer due to elevated water temps on the Farmington. But in the spring, I did get the chance to do what I enjoy most about being a teaching guide: introducing people to the ancient and traditional art of wet fly fishing. The bite gods generally smiled upon us, and we had multiple memorable outings. You’ll be able to learn more about tying and fishing wet flies from me next month at the Fly Fishing Shows in Marlborough and Edison. Of course, there’s nothing like an on-water lesson. April and May are coming!

Eric was just one of several clients this year who locked up on bunches of fat Farmy trout with wet flies. (I was smiling, too.) Well done, everyone!

#6 Peacock Bass Fishing in south Florida. When you’ve never caught a tarpon or snook, and you’ve been fantasizing about doing so for months, and then your guide tells you that conditions in the Everglades aren’t good so you won’t be realizing your dream today…well, that just kinda sucks. But wait, he says. I’ve got a plan B: peacock bass. If you love smallmouth, you’ll love peacocks. They’re aggressive and feisty and leapers and beautiful fish to boot. Plus, I know a spot. Okay, you say. You’re still disappointed, maybe a even little reluctant. But you go because it is what it is…and then you discover that what it is is fan-freaking-tastic. But wait, there’s more: find the right water and it’s bass after bass after bass. What a delightful way to wreck your forearm.

Hooking a peacock bass is like reenacting a fight scene from the old Batman TV show. Pow! Biff! Smash! Crunch! They blast the fly, and if you apply upward pressure they leap and cavort and tail-dance (and sometimes do that regardless). Tremendous sport, especially in the 2-5 pound range. I love living in a seasonal climate, but there’s something about Florida fly fishing that really appeals to me. Photo by Mark Giacobba.

#5 Being a Contributing Author to the Followup to Surfcasting Around The Block. When surfcasting legend Dennis Zambrotta asked me to contribute a chapter to his new book, I was thrilled. I pretty much knew what I wanted to write about, and after much drafting and polishing I sent it off to Dennis. My piece is called “The All-Nighter and the Nor’Easter.” The book’s working title is Surfcasting For Striped Bass: Fifty Years of Legend and Lore from the Islands of Block and Aquidneck. Target publish date: fall 2022.

Sacred fly fishing grounds. Dagnibbit, you can see all my secret spots!

The Currentseams Best of 2021: #10-#8

Every year, I go through the same angst-ridden process. What will I write about for my top ten year-end wrap-up? Did I even do anything that’s worthy? Maybe it’s due to residual holiday stress. Maybe it’s simply mind clutter. Or maybe I’m just a dork. Because it always turns out that once I make a list, I have so many things to write about that it seems impossible to whittle it down to ten.

2021 was another challenging year. The pandemic robbed us of so many precious in-person moments, from shows to club meetings. Rivers and oceans continued to see an unprecedented number of anglers, and I can’t say that that has improved the angling experience. Climate change continued to wreak havoc on our weather patterns; it seems we were either flooded or baked or parched. Even tailwaters like the Farmington were not immune to the ravages of the new normal.

But, enough of what’s not so good! Let’s have some fun. Ready? Here we go…

#10 Tuesday Night Zooms/Tying Zooms. Pandemic be damned — we can still safely connect via Zoom. These sessions often drew well over 50 people. It’s always cool to be able to see faces and hear voices, even if it’s over the internet. I’m grateful for the gifts some of you sent to show your appreciation — thank you for your generosity. And thank you again to everyone who attended my virtual fly tying classes.

The product of a virtual wet fly tying classes. I also had the opportunity this year to perform one of my favorite tying demos of all time. It was a private virtual gig for a gentlemen in an assisted living home that specialized in early memory-loss issues. He was a former angler and fly tier, and I promised that I would fish with the flies I ted and send him pictures of those fish. I kept that promise, and his caretakers said he was thrilled to see those shots. Wow!

#9 Big Winter Browns. You may not always connect, but when you do, there’s a chance that what you hook on that streamer is going to be good. I still don’t Euro nymph, but I did spend some time tying and learning to fish long-leader jigged mini-streamers. It’s an effective tactic for close-in work. Here’s the proof.

A substantial spawned-out hen. I still relish the sight of those stunning haloed spots on her flank and her golden belly. Photo by Toby Lapinski.

#8 Writing and Finding New Audiences. For years, magazines have been in a sad decline. It’s shame, because when it comes to reading pleasure, there’s nothing more enjoyable for me than the printed word on a paper page. But, this is the modern way. Some print pubs continue to hang on, if not do rather nicely. Others have shifted to electronic formats. Whatever the medium, I’m grateful for the opportunity to write and be read. You could have found me this year in The Fisherman, On The Water, Field & Stream Online, Surfcaster’s Journal, and American Fly Fishing. And, of course, right here at currentseams.com.

You can read my story “Sensei Elmer & The 50-Fish Nights” in this issue of Surfcaster’s Journal, but you’ll need to subscribe or buy the issue. Please support publications that you enjoy reading.

“Summer on the Farmington” film teaser featuring…me

Director Matthew Vinick just released the third teaser for his upcoming film, “Summer on the Farmington.” You may recognize that almost-handsome face, and I’m pleased to note that no cameras were broken during the filming of my segments. Here it is:

You can also find the other teasers featuring Mark Swenson and Antoine Bissieux. The world premier is Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 7pm, at Brewery Legitimus in New Hartford. Tickets are $25 and are available online through the FRAA. Hope to see you there!

Winter guiding, holiday gifts, and other cold weather diversions

Just a friendly reminder that the Farmington River fishes 12 months a year, and December can be a good time to connect with some bigger fish. The browns are generally off the spawn, and looking to bulk up before things get really cold. I understand it’s a busy time of year, and short notice, but just sayin’ that I had a cancellation this Friday 12/3 in the 10am-2pm slot. First person to reach out gets it. Otherwise, I’ll go myself, so it’s a win either way. Note that this primarily a nymph/streamers time of year; if you’re looking to learn to swing wets, it would be best to wait until spring. Also, this is the time of year where people ask about buying a guide trip/lesson as a gift. I’ve already had some takers, but if you are looking to drop a hint to your best-beloved gift buyer, show them this post and they can take it from there. You can go fishing now or wait until spring/summer. Thanks, and you all know where to find me.

Nothing like a gorgeous winter Farmington River wild brown.

“Summer on the Farmington” film premier Jan 12, 2022

We interrupt our Everglades story — there are a couple more chapters to go — with breaking news. Director Matthew Vinick has just announced the premier date for his film, “Summer on the Farmington,” (featuring yours truly, among others)! It’s Wednesday, January 12, 2022, at the Legitimus Brewery in New Hartford. That’s all I have for now, other than we should have a trailer to share sometime in the next couple weeks. In the meantime, here’s a very low-res, ultra brief teaser.

Almost 900 followers and other happy Monday ramblings

Happy Monday, fellow currentseamsers. I hope everyone had a good weekend. My highlight was going 9-3 against the spread; in this crazy NFL season, I’ll take that and run. I was going to go fishing today, but decided that I had too many other pressing things to get done. Absent urgent matters, I think this is important to share: If you’re ever ambivalent about going fishing — you know, that “I feel like going fishing but I’m lazy/not sure I want to” kind of energy — make your factory default setting “Go Fishing.” You’ll be glad you did.

I see we are dangerously close to 900 email followers, and you know what that means: a fly giveaway celebration to follow! But first, we need to get there. If just ten of you got a friend to follow currentseams, we’d be having call for entries…very soon. Just sayin’!

Here’s a review from our good friend Charles Witek on last week’s ASMFC striped bass meeting. As far next action steps for concerned anglers, we are in a holding pattern.

No details yet on my appearances/classes at the 2022 Fly Fishing Shows in Marlborough and Edison, but I will of course post those here when I get them. I’m hoping to see many of you there.

And as if we didn’t have enough water in local rivers and streams, there’s a ton more rain on the way. Wait until next drought when we’re parched and praying for rain. Is it too much to ask for a happy medium?

Catch ’em up!

Not this year.

Farmington River Report 10/15/21: Slow. Slower. Slowest.

Doug and Paul chose a spectacular fall day for a session with yours truly. Unfortunately, the bite didn’t match up to the conditions. We fished two sizable marks from 10am-2pm, and all we could manage was one bump and one hookup. That actually isn’t as bad as it sounds; angler traffic was fairly heavy for a fall weekday, and I didn’t see anyone else hook up the entire time. So well done, Doug and Paul! The river was running medium high (530cfs) and the water is beginning to cool nicely. Observed: caddis and a few tiny BWOs. Leaves are a bit of an issue, and we had all our action on white streamers. (I should have mentioned that we were dedicated to the streamer cause, both traditional presentations and long-leader jigged micro streamers.) Both anglers fished hard and well, and on another day might have connected with dozens.

Doug having at it. Perseverance helps on slow days, and Doug was rewarded not too long after I took this shot.
Paul makes the point that there are worse ways to spend a few minutes on a sunny fall afternoon than sitting on a log with your feet in a river. I loved how Paul asked so many questions. Thinking anglers are better anglers. A most enjoyable day, gents!

Farmington River mini-report 10/8/21: filming fools

Yesterday I wrapped up some drone footage with Director Matthew Vinick for his upcoming film “Summer on the Farmington.” Elevated flows (650cfs in the Permanent TMA) and leaves were an issue, but we got it done. Adverse conditions didn’t discourage the legions of anglers I saw out enjoying the river and weather. I had 30 minutes to fish for pleasure after the shoot, so I hit a favorite mark for some tight line nymphing. Sadly, every stall of the sighter or tangible bump turned out to be either bottom or debris. I was not alone — of the dozen or so anglers I shared water with, I did not see a single trout hooked. On a positive note, the water is noticeably cooler than it was a week ago. Things can only get better, right?

Pro tip: when there are so many orange/yellow/red leaves in the water, try going dark or white with streamers — and make sure one of your nymph droppers is small and dark (it’s tiny BWO season). A small Starling and Herl soft hackle would be a fine choice.